After working on his novel Family Life for seven years, Akhil Sharma began to lose his mind. Whenever he sat down to write, he began having panic attacks, the kind that left his chest feeling “constantly bruised” for months on end. Eventually, he hit on a solution: he learned to take his mind off his novel by praying for other people.
During the riots in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, the city’s chief librarian insisted her neighborhood branch remain open. Yesterday that librarian, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress, the first woman and African-American to hold the position. We wonder what Dr. Hayden might make of our own Jacob Lambert‘s “Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”
In The Morning News, Jessica Francis Kane asks where is the line drawn between literary fiction and historical fiction; why is historical fiction maligned; and what happens when you write a novel and one of the characters attends your reading?
“If you didn’t feel you were discovering something as you wrote your memoir, don’t publish it. Instead hit the delete key, and then go congratulate yourself for having lived a perfectly good, undistinguished life. There’s no shame in that.” Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times lays some ground rules for those compelled to write memoirs.
Out this week: The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli; My Documents by Alejandro Zambra; The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; The First Wife by Erica Spindler; The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth; Sweet Nothing by Richard Lange; and The Strange Case of Rachel K by Millions 2013 Year in Reading favorite Rachel Kushner. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.